During this pandemic and period of political unrest, we have all experienced a degree of stress–some much more than others. Our own individual bodies are handling this added stress in unpredictable ways. A large number of men are experiencing a dramatic decrease in sexual desire while some are feeling a surge of horniness. However your body is coping with the stress of our present days, I believe that, in our ability to personally reflect, we hold the keys to our next steps into personal growth. Our fluctuating sex drives can serve as windows into our personal belief systems and identities as men.
For me, a decrease in sex drive is making me look deeply at my beliefs about Western masculinity and its requisite overemphasis on sex as a marker of manliness. When we fuck, we most likely accentuate the “doing,” the performance, the physical action. We likely carry baggage about our bodies, our cocks, our athletic abilities, our mastery of techniques. Even idealized men share these same vulnerabilities, whether or not they are open about them. Each of us has been engineered by our cultures to outperform each other, conquer, take all, and show no weakness. To reverse this conditioning is an act of intention and practice.
Truly, when our nervous systems are under the perception of threat, it’s nearly impossible to get aroused. Instead, we stay activated and are ready to flee attack, fight, or freeze in order to protect ourselves. These emotional states make it really difficult for us to simultaneously feel free, enlivened, improvisational, or relaxed–all of which are necessary to produce reliable hard-ons. Instead of adding stress to ourselves by freaking out about a lack of sex, we can take these opportunities to practice letting go. If we’re really honest with ourselves, large parts of our identities hinge upon our perceived sex appeal, earning power, physical strength, and our accomplishments. Personally, I love engaging with each of these pursuits in my own life. I fastidiously attend to my appearance, work out daily, and strategize constantly in business and creativity. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I know that I’m going to have to give all of these anchors up someday anyway, and I’ll float away into the unknown. Part of me feels this, because it’s already happening on a daily basis. Other parts of me rail against this truth vehemently.
A concept from Tantra that I’m really digging is the concept of active receptivity. I’m not just referring to bottoming, either, though bottoming can be a great way to practice this principle. Instead, I’m referring to letting go, a shift in emphasis from “doing” the other guy while fucking to “doing” whatever I can in order to let go of forcing it, posturing, clinging to identity, using another man’s body to prop up my need to feel manly, etc. In letting go of these projected forms, expectations, beliefs, or whatever may stand in my way, I can then actually clear the way for the real–what is truly felt beneath the surface and wants to emerge. That will likely even be–uh oh–vulnerability.
Maybe what wants to emerge within us at this moment is not about sex-as-usual. Instead, we might need to find deeper roots within ourselves and our communities. During these coming months, we don’t know what to expect. Maybe you will feel sexual energy and maybe you won’t. However, if you are looking for ways to engage with your eroticism that don’t necessitate having raging hard-ons, look no further than your own body. Perhaps this can be a time of great insight, exploration of imagination and fantasy, and inquiry into your own belief systems about manhood.